Oscars 2012 – Post Script Snap Judgments

Oscars 2012 Snap Judgments:

Not a long post here everyone, just some thoughts:

1. I noticed they crammed all the technical awards into the first half of the show, presenting two or three at a time.  I’m fine with this one, especially since the average moviegoer doesn’t know or particular care about the process of making movies behind the scenes.  That’s unfortunate, but at least the Academy doesn’t make like the Recording Academy and give out the majority of the awards off camera.

2. Some of Billy Crystal’s jokes were funny, others fell flat.  I guess you can only host the Oscars so many times and stay fresh.

3. Good for Meryl Streep! It has become a bit tiresome to nominate her every single year and not give her an award for the last three decades.  If I were her I would have made like Woody Allen and stopped showing up years ago.

4. So let me get this straight, they cut the “Best Song” nominees to two, perform neither of them, and fill up time with a bunch of boring interviews?  Does anyone really care what Adam Sandler’s first movie memory is?

Oh and congrats to Lauren for guessing the most winners at our Oscar party last night!

(c) 2012 D. G. McCabe

Oscar Weekend! Top Snubs by Category

Top Oscar Snubs by Category

Ah the Academy Awards, the annual love-fest when the Hollywood elite get dressed up and give themselves a big pat on the back.  While Hollywood’s love for itself is true, sometimes its collective judgement proves false.  In that spirit, here are Cinema Grand Canyonscope’s top Oscar snubs of all time in the “Big Four” Categories:

Best Picture – “How Green was My Valley” over “Citizen Kane” (1941)

“How Green was My Valley” is generally considered to be ranked somewhere in the top quarter of John Ford’s films.  Certainly the tragic tale of a Welsh coal mining family has much to recommend it, and fabulous performances by Maureen O’Hara and Donald Crisp.

That being said, many film historians consider “Citizen Kane” to be the most important and most influential American film ever made.  The reasons for the snub include William Randolph Hearst’s vicious campaign against the film and Orson Welles’ legendary ability to burn bridges in Hollywood.  Also, perhaps Welles’ masterpiece was too far ahead of its time, and the Academy chose safer, more comfortable ground by selecting a high quality John Ford film for the Best Picture of 1941.

Best Actor – Art Carney for “Harry and Tonto” over Al Pacino for “The Godfather Part II” and Jack Nicholson for “Chinatown” (1974)

How does Jackie Gleason’s goofy sidekick from the “Honeymooners” beat out not one but two unforgettable performances by legendary actors?   Certainly, Carney is terrific in “Harry and Tonto.” But I can only guess that the votes for Nicholson and Pacino were so split that the third best performance got the award by a nose. But Pacino and Nicholson each gave one of the two or three best performances of their careers in 1974, if not the best, and that tells me that the Academy should have honored at least one of them that year.

Best Actress – Judy Holliday for “Born Yesterday” over Bette Davis for “All About Eve” and Gloria Swanson for “Sunset Boulevard” (1950)

Sometimes it’s hard to pick a winner.  The year1950 had an embarrassment of riches in the Best Actress category, and I don’t mean to downplay the quality of Holliday’s performance in “Born Yesterday.”  Still, “All About Eve” may be Bette Davis’ best performance, and Swanson’s Norma Desmond is one of the greatest characters in the history of film.  Did Holliday win because her Billie Dawn was a more familiar, more comfortable Eliza Doolittle inspired character than the other two choices?  Were Norma Desmond and Margo Channing (Davis) too similar?  Or did they hit a little too close to home for some of the aging actresses that voted in 1950?

Best Direction – The Entire Category

The entire category of “Best Direction” has been so mangled over the years that I can’t in good faith choose one snub over any of the others – they’re all bad.  For instance, if you look at my Top Twenty Directors list, you will only find four Oscar winners (John Ford, David Lean, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg). Examples of specific snubs include: “How Green was My Valley” over “Citizen Kane” (1941), “Going My Way” over “Double Indemnity” (1944), “West Side Story” over “La Dolce Vita” (1961), “Tom Jones” over “8 1/1” (1963), “My Fair Lady” over “Dr. Strangelove” (1964), “Oliver!” over “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Cabaret” over “The Godfather” (1972), “Terms of Endearment” over “Fanny and Alexander” (1983), “Out of Africa” over “Ran” (1985), and “Dances with Wolves” over “Goodfellas” (1990).

Don’t forget the 84th Annual Academy Awards are at 8:00pm EST on Sunday, February 26, 2012 on ABC!

(c) 2012 D. G. McCabe

Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

United States, 1958, Color, 128 minutes

“Alright I’ll do it.  I don’t care anymore about me.”

– Judy Barton

Like many of Alfred Hitchcock’s (1899-1980) best films, Vertigo examines a man who ignores the real world in favor of what is portrayed as a fantasy world.  Hitchcock often vindicates the protagonist’s obsession, or at least explains it as being the result of mental illness.  What is most unsettling about Vertigo is that there is no such justification for the disturbing behavior of the protagonist, and we’re actually made to sympathize with him.

To begin, Hitchcock introduces us to John “Scottie” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart), a retired detective who suffers from a crippling fear of heights. Ferguson has been hired by his friend Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) to follow his wife Madeline (Kim Novak) around San Francisco.  Elster suspects that his wife has been possessed by a dead woman, or at least she believes that she has, and he needs Ferguson to help him confirm those suspicions.  As he follows Madeline, Ferguson grows increasingly obsessed with her.

Ferguson appears to be the typical, everyman protagonist that Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997) played in many of his earlier films.  Stewart’s performance forces the audience to sympathize with Ferguson, even as his obsessive behavior becomes increasingly dangerous in the second half of the film.  While Stewart is convincing the audience to trust Ferguson, Hitchcock is busy using every tool available to him to try to convince the audience that Ferguson is descending into madness.  As I watched, I couldn’t decide whether Ferguson was an obsessive maniac or a brilliant detective until the very last scene.

If Vertigo has a weakness, it is the somewhat stilted performances of its supporting cast.  I find it hard to hold this against the actors themselves.  Hitchcock’s minor characters are often little more than devices he uses to push his plots forward.

Still, Hitchcock was not attempting to create a richly layered world of interesting characters in Vertigo. Instead he was examining one question: how far will we go in pursuit of our fantasies?  I don’t think I like the answer.

Rating:

You may like Vertigo if: you’ve ever enjoyed a thriller in your life.

You may not like Vertigo if: you demand complex secondary characters from every movie you see, or you just don’t like movies.

(c) 2012 D. G. McCabe

The Artist (2011)

The Artist

Directed by Michel Hazanavicius

France, 2011, Silent, 100 minutes

“I’m the one people come to see.  They never needed to hear me.”‘

– George Valentin

I saw the Artist a couple of weeks ago, and since it may very well win the Oscar for Best Picture next week, I thought I would share my opinions on it.  First of all, I enjoyed the movie.  As I walked out of the theater I could only think that film, at as artform, is primarily about images.  With every new innovation, we continue to build this edifice on top of that foundation, whether those innovations are in sound, deep focus, stop motion animation, jump cuts, CGI, or what have you.  Sometimes it’s refreshing to visit the basement from time to time.

The Artist introduces us to silent film superstar George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who along with his little dog, is on top of the world.  He exudes the pure joy of a man who loves his work and everything about it.  His wife (Penelope Ann Miller) doesn’t seem to care for him much, but George is so smitten with himself that he barely notices.  This begins to change when a fan named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) cuts into George’s spotlight for a moment.  While George is still riding high for a time, the advent of sound makes silent starts like George obsolete in the studio’s eyes (think Douglas Fairbanks).

The minute that “The Jazz Singer” (1927) came out, the world shifted beneath the feet of Hollywood.  Hollywood began raiding Broadway for the best song and dance men and women they could find, and hundreds of actors who looked nice but didn’t have attractive voices were thrown by the wayside.  Only a select few, most notably Charlie Chaplin, were successful enough to resist the tide of dialogue. This subject is of course central to the plot of “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952).

The weakness of The Artist isn’t the acting, music, set design or comedy, all of which are superb.  It’s a feeling I recently described with the following analogy.  The “Sim” series of games, which include “Sim City,” “The Sims,” “Sim Earth,” and a few others, are sometimes referred to as “software toys” rather than true games.  It is fun to build your own city, social community, or whatever, but there is no way to “win” these games at the end – no payoff.

Like the Sim games, The Artist is a lot of fun, but in the end there’s no payoff.  As a silent comedy, it’s funny, but it doesn’t measure up to City Lights (1931) or The General (1926).  It serves its subject matter well, but not as well as Singin’ in the Rain or Sunset Boulevard (1950).

That’s not to say that it isn’t worth your time and money – quite the opposite.  Its witty, self referential comedy is a refreshing change of pace from the gross-out, frat-tastic humor so often pushed upon us by Hollywood.  Generally, it’s a fun way to spend an evening.  Just don’t expect it to be anything more than it is, a funny, well made film that doesn’t have anything new to say.

Rating:

You may like the Artist if: You’re in the mood for a fun night out at the movies and you want to see a comedy that is well acted, well produced, and funny without being juvenile.

You may not like the Artist if: You are looking for a film that connects to its subject matter in new way or you are looking for a film that is groundbreaking in its genre.

(c) 2012 D.G. McCabe

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis

Directed by Fritz Lang

Germany, 1927, Silent, 148 min

“No! I must always stay at the Machine!” – Georgey 11811 to Freder Fredersen

Metropolis is one of the most important films ever made, but in many ways it is an outlier.   Fritz Lang (1890-1976) was far more interested in making dark, seedy, modern crime dramas than he was in dabbling in dystopian science fiction.  Lang himself never cared for what many consider to be his masterpiece, and the film itself has been subject to all manner of neglect, censorship, and re-editing.  It was once thought that about a third of the film had been lost forever, but in 2008 a nearly complete negative was discovered in Argentina, and thanks to the F.W. Murnau Foundation (http://www.murnau-stiftung.de/en/01-00-00-stiftung.html), a version of the film that comprises around 95% of Lang’s original can be viewed today (the original film was 153 minutes, the restoration, including inserted credits, is 148 minutes).

That was the version that I watched this morning.  The plot itself is predictable by modern standards (but only because it has been copied so many times) and the central message of the film is a bit simplistic and borderline naive.  That being said, those are the only weaknesses that I can think of, and the film continues to mesmerize 85 years after it was filmed.

Lang’s dark vision of the future takes place in a city where a vast system of machines sustain the prosperity of those who inhabit it, or more specifically, its above ground portions.  There are stadiums and nightclubs, pleasure gardens and terraces, and the people who inhabit these locales are well dressed, well fed, and happy.

This is not the case for the workers who operate the machines. These men and women toil ten hours a day in exhausting and repetitive jobs.  They work non-stop and in hellish conditions, risking certain death if they make any mistakes.  When they are not working, they are forced to live underground in squalid poverty.   The life in “The Depths” is a constant nightmare – a darkness of exhaustion, starvation, and isolation.

The hero of the story, Freder (Gustav Frohlich) is the son of the city’s ruler, Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel).  One day while he is enjoying his, ahem, female companions (no, that’s not a type-o, there are more than one), Freder’s pleasure garden is crashed by the beautiful Maria (Brigitte Helm) and a group poor children from The Depths whom she has brought to the surface on an apparent visit.  After she and the children are thrown out by security, Freder, who is enchanted by Maria, darts from his pleasure garden to follow her.

While searching for Maria, he witnesses a terrible industrial accident.  An exhausted worker makes a mistake, and causes the massive machine he is operating to partially explode, killing several workers. To demonstrate Freder’s horror, Lang provides us with a hallucination of the workers being thrown into a monstrous oven.   Although the film is silent, Lang’s imagery allowed me to imagine the screams of the workers so clearly that their sound could have scarcely added to the horror.

It is the emotions of the workers themselves, not Freder, that drive the course of the rest of the film.  Maria brings hope to the workers by speaking of  a coming “Mediator” who will bring harmony and understanding between the rulers and the workers. She hopes that she has found that Mediator in Freder. In contrast, Fredersen and his ally, the mad scientist Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Logge), have created a “machine man” to manipulate the workers.  Fredersen hopes to use the automaton to incite the workers’ anger in a plot to maintain control over them, while Rotwang has his own, more devious objectives.

Many silent films have a hard time holding the attention of modern audiences.  Metropolis does not suffer from this problem, and I don’t think the film would be greatly improved by adding dialogue.  The film moves along with such fluidity that the audience doesn’t have time to consider its weaknesses or hunt for clues as to what would inspire films such as Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, Gattaca, Dark City, the Matrix, and hundreds of others.  Despite the opinions of its author, it remains a landmark work that every fan of film should view at least once.

Rating:

You may like Metropolis if: You enjoy dystopian science fiction films or adventure films, you are interested in where the techniques used in many of your favorite science fiction films come from, or you are in the mood for a high quality, emotionally charged film with high artistic merit.

You may not like Metropolis if: You absolutely hate all science fiction or silent films, or you get really annoyed with films that use somewhat predictable plot devices, even if the movie is the first time those plot devices were used.

(c) 2012 D.G. McCabe

Top Twenty Directors List

To begin my film discussions, I would like to start with a list that I hold near and dear.  For those of you who know me, you have probably heard me recite this list, possibly more than once.

Here’s the background.  Back in 2006,  having noticed hundreds of “best film of all time” lists I realized that there weren’t nearly as many lists of the greatest directors.  At the time, I was in law school and I needed a good distraction to prevent myself from going batty, so I started doing research, got myself a Netflix subscription, and got to work.

That being said, here’s the list, complete with a few of the directors’ most important films (no more than five) and a brief description of them.

1) Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998).  Some notable films: Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), Ikiru (1952), Ran (1985), The Hidden Fortress (1958).

When you watch a Kurosawa film, you may be struck by the number of conventions that seem familiar, but it’s because he invented them.  “The Emperor,” as he was known in some circles, directed 32 films from the early 1940’s until shortly before his death in 1998.  Kurosawa drew inspiration from Shakespeare, the samurai stories of medieval Japan, and his own personal experiences in post-war Japan and used all methods available to him to tell those stories exceedingly well.  It often appeared that he had the power to harness nature itself and bend it to his will.  In some of his later work, he used color film for the first time.  Like fishing with dynamite – it just wasn’t fair.

2) Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980). Some notable films: Rear Window (1954), Psycho (1960), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), Notorious (1946).

Hitchcock started his career in silent films, and to him, images came first, and everything else was flourish.  Images of a man with a broken leg spying on his neighbors with a telescope, a biplane firing upon a cornfield, a knife cutting up a shower curtain, and hundreds of others are seared into our popular imagination.  He started his career in his native England and moved to Hollywood in 1940.  Overall he directed 65 films and six seasons of a popular television series.

3) Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). Some notable  films: Persona (1966), The Seventh Seal (1957), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Wild Strawberries (1957), Fanny and Alexander (1982).

I once went to an open house at the Swedish Embassy, and when I mentioned that most of what I learned about Sweden I knew from Bergman, the tour guide responded, “Well, we’re not all that depressing.”  Bergman’s films were more than an endless Scandinavian winter of despair though, and even his darkest films have a silver lining.  Bergman’s 63 films deal with themes more in the realm of literature than film: the silence of God, the mental illness of a loved one, growing old, the alienation of modern society.

4) Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999).

Some notable films: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Paths of Glory (1957).  Is Kubrick the greatest American director?  It’s close, but I think he edges out John Ford.  He only made 16 films, but he never made a bad one (even Eyes Wide Shut is not a bad film).  I always like to think that Kubrick excelled by making his audience uncomfortable, but the reason his films make us uncomfortable is because he is showing us a part of ourselves we’d rather not acknowledge.  Still, we keep coming back.

5) John Ford (1894-1973). Some notable films: The Searchers (1956), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Stagecoach (1939), How Green Was My Valley (1941).

John Ford is best known as the man most responsible for the rise and fall of the Western.  He made so many so well that he set an impossible standard for the genre.  Most of the directors on this list that followed Ford have referred to him at one time or another as an influence.  Although some of his 146 films feel dated now (and his depictions of Native Americans in his early work leave much to be desired), his best work features some of the deepest characters and best performances in all of cinema.

6) Fredrico Fellini (1920-1993). Some notable films: 8 1/2 (1963), La Dolce Vita (1960), La Strada (1954), I Vitelloni (1953), Amarcord (1973).

I sometimes don’t know where to begin with Fellini.  The first of his 24 films were squarely in the Italian neo-realist camp, but then something happened around 1960 when he started using the conventions of the realists to tell stories in unconventional ways and create possibly the most unique style in all of cinema.

7) Orson Welles (1915-1985). Some notable films: Citizen Kane (1941), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Touch of Evil (1958).

Orson Welles was many things (actor, writer, radio star, frozen food salesman) and few of the 42 films he directed are widely seen today (the majority of them are shorts and documentaries).  One stands above all of the others of course, but Citizen Kane was not Welles’ only masterpiece from behind the camera.  His films were some of the first that felt like they could be real when you watched them, and he made them a decade before the Italian neorealists or the auteurs of the French New Wave.

8) Francois Truffaut (1932-1984). Some notable films: Jules and Jim (1962), The 400 Blows (1959), The Last Metro (1980), Day for Night (1973), Fahrenheit 451 (1966).

Speaking of the New Wave, I don’t think it had a more versatile director that Truffaut.  The “French coming of age film” is arguably his invention, but it was Truffaut’s knowledge of film that really set him apart from other directors.  He knew what worked and what didn’t, and it allowed him to transcend genres in ways that even some of the directors I have ranked ahead of him could not match.

9) Martin Scorsese (1942 – ). Some notable films: Goodfellas (1990), Raging Bull (1980), Taxi Driver (1976), The Departed (2006), Cape Fear (1991).

So far, Scorsese has made 51 films.  His best work deals with characters at the margins of society, and his best stories deal with subjects we’d rather have swept under the rug.  The images that stay with us from his films are oftentimes the most shocking and violent, but the context that Scorsese places around those images make us consider their meaning rather than simply recoiling from them.  Even when Scorsese reaches beyond what we usually think of as his comfort zone, he never loses his ability to place intricate context around memorable images.

10) Charles Chaplin (1889-1977). Some notable films: City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1941), The Gold Rush (1925), The Kid (1921).

For a time, Charlie Chaplin was the most famous man in the world.  Once the British vaudeville actor got behind the camera (he starred in 86 films and directed 73), he was one of the first people to see that film could be art and not just silly or melodramatic images flashing across the screen.   It is hard to overstate the importance of Chaplin’s work, especially his later films, in the development of the comedy genre.

11) Jean-Luc Godard (1930 – ). Some notable films: Breathless (1960), Vivre sa Vie (1962), Pierrot le Fou (1965), Alphaville (1966), Week End (1967).

Godard made the best of his 97 films in the 1960’s.  He’s still making movies, largely unbeknownst to American audiences.  Breathless alone has been called the French Citizen Kane for its innovations (the jump cuts especially).  To some, his work may seem like experimentation for experimentation’s sake, but his creativity has influenced many of the best post 1960’s films.

12) Stephen Spielberg (1946 – ). Some notable films: Schindler’s List (1993), Jaws (1975), E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

This one is more controversial than it needs to be.  Spielberg has 48 films in the can, and yes, some of them are terrible.  One thing that I always remember about Spielberg though is his interest in the macro-story – the story of the world in which his characters live.  He doesn’t dwell on the day-to-day lives of his characters, and if they come off a little flat sometimes it is only because Spielberg is eternally preoccupied with the magnificence around them, and by extension around all of us.

13) David Lean (1908-1991). Some notable films: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Brief Encounter (1945), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Great Expectations (1946).

Speaking of magnificent, there are the 19 films of David Lean.  While Chaplin and Hitchcock were born in England, it is Lean who was the master of a uniquely English cinema.  His undisputed masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia and his other big budget epics have given him a  reputation in the United States as a master of large scale, Hollywood productions.  Still, in many ways it is his early Noel Coward and Dickens adaptations that set him apart by demonstrating his unique awareness of English culture.

14) Fritz Lang (1890-1976). Some notable films: Metropolis (1927), M (1931), The Big Heat (1953), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Fury (1936).

Metropolis is the first great science fiction film, and of his 46 films, it is probably Lang’s best known.  Even so, Metropolis is a bit of an outlier in Lang’s German period.  Most of his pre-1936 films built the foundation of what became known as the police procedural genre (later, television producers would owe him an enormous debt of gratitude).  After Lang fled Germany in 1936 rather than work for the Nazis, his work in Hollywood served as the bedrock of another important genre: Film Noir.

15) Vittorio De Sica (1901-1974). Some notable films: Bicycle Thieves (1948), Umberto D (1952), Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (1963), Shoeshine (1946).

De Sica is best known as the director of Bicycle Thieves, but he made 36 films and starred in 156.   De Sica and others developed one of the most influential movements in film history – Italian Neorealism.  The basic idea behind Neorealism was that film should imitate life as closely as possible.  By doing so, it would break through the conventions of popular cinema to give the audience a heightened awareness of social issues, specifically the plight of working class Italians after World War II.  While other directors such as Roberto Rossellini were important to the movement, De Sica’s films are probably the best known and most influential internationally.

16) Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963). Some notable films: Tokyo Story (1953), Late Spring (1949), I Was Born, But…(1932), Floating Weeds (1959).

Ozu’s films are slow meditations on the nature of family and human relationships.  If Spielberg is eternally preoccupied with the magnificent worlds his character inhabit, Ozu was his counterpoint.  His 54 films do not have plot twists or fantastic adventures, but instead focus on the daily lives of ordinary people in pre and post war Japan.  Ozu is also well known for his distinctive artistic style (low angle shots, using scenes from nature to pace his films, having actors speak directly into the camera, etc.).

17) Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). Some notable films: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), The Chess Players (1977), The Visitor (1991), World of Apu (1959).

The Bollywood style is iconic of Indian cinema, but it is the Neorealist influenced style of Ray that is often referred to as the apex of Indian art cinema.  If Bollywood represents escapism in Indian film, Ray represents the confrontational with his unforgettable meditations on poverty.  Both styles are valuable, but Ray casts a larger shadow over Indian art cinema than any single director does over Bollywood.

18) Luis Bunuel (1900-1983). Some notable films: Belle de Jour (1967), Un Chien Andalou (1929), The Exterminating Angel (1962), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Viridiana (1961).

Bunuel was close friends with Salvador Dali, and what Dali is to art, Bunuel is to cinema.  The first of his 34 films was a collaboration with Dali, and despite the fact that it makes absolutely no sense, Un Chien Andalou remains one of the most influential short films ever made.  His later work is more accessible, but never loses the unique dreamlike qualities that made Bunuel an icon of surrealist art.

19) Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948). Some notable films: Battleship Potemkin (1925), October (1928), Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ivan the Terrible (1944).

Eisenstein may not have invented the montage or the propaganda film, but he might as well have.  Eisenstein’s first films glorified the Russian Revolution on behalf of the Bolsheviks, but he fell out of favor with them for time while he traveled the world.  He earned their favor again with his later films which are credited with inspiring the Russian army during World War II.  What we have of Eisenstein’s work is impressive, but I can’t help but think what could have been if he was free to fully explore his genius without the Soviet government breathing down his neck.

20) Robert Altman (1925-2006). Some notable films: Nashville (1975), MASH (1970), Gosford Park (2001), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Short Cuts (1993).

There are 89 feature length films, television programs, and documentaries that credit Robert Altman as a director.  He started as a television director, loved working with ensembles and without a script, and the results are often as messy and hilarious as daily life.  If there ever was a director who could be called the master of controlled chaos, it was Altman.

The next ten (in alphabetical order by last name): Woody Allen, Michelangelo Antonioni, Frances Ford Coppola,  Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Buster Keaton, Spike Lee, F.W. Murnau, Jean Renoir, Billy Wilder.

(c) 2012 D.G. McCabe

Our Motto

It is the story that matters. It sustains us.  It moves us forward.  Like the sea it is always in motion.  Like a mountain it is always stationary.  It thrives on common conventions, but comes to life with uncommon character.

(c) 2012 D.G. McCabe

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